I love reading; however, there are times when I crave a different kind of storytelling, one which melds text and pictures to create a lush world. This combination of words and drawings brings a new layer to the reading experience, opening up avenues for subtext, side plots, and story lines which are not be possible with traditional, linear storytelling. Books are often read because of their authors, the same is true for comic books; however, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite comic book artists and their new titles available at the Peter White Public Library.
The Oz Series, Artist, Skottie Young; Author, Eric Shanower
One of my personal favorites, Skottie Young's unique art style makes him the perfect choice for Marvel's adaptations of Frank L. Baum's classic Oz series. While his art is whimsical and fanciful, Young has the ability to transport readers, young and old, to bright, colorful worlds where nothing is as it seems. The youth friendly illustrations also hold a subtle hint of the creepy, dark aspects of Oz. Wide-eyed characters filled with wonder draw you to their personal stories and urge you to explore their lives deeper. The Oz series has won numerous Eisner Awards and Young also illustrates children's books, including Fortunately the Milk by author Neil Gaiman.
Hawkeye, Artist, David Aja; Author, Matt Fraction
Spanish comic book artist David Aja is the king of minimalist comic design and utilizing infographics to tell a story. Winner of the 2013 Eisner Award for Best Artist/Penciller/Inker Team for his work with Matt Fraction on Hawkeye, Aja makes the life of Clint Barton, Hawkeye of the Avengers, seem less glamorous though his uncluttered art style. Unlike his fellow Avengers, Hawkeye is not a God or a super soldier; he is your average Joe with a not-so-average talent at archery. The second collection of Hawkeye, Little Hits, contains my favorite issue titled "Pizza is My Business" told from the perspective of a dog. Fractions story, along with Aja's art, challenges the read to understand the story through interpreting the coded images associated with what the dog sees and smells.
Young Avengers, Artist, Jamie McKelvie; Author, Kieron Gillen
McKelvie, an English artist, has an innovative art style. He and author Kieron Gillen have collaborated numerous times in the past, and the library has recently acquired their latest collaboration, Young Avengers vol.1, Style > Substance. The two page spreads in this book are amazing, completely immersing the reader in the action, and McKelvie's usage of the white space around the illustrations transports readers into the story of a group of teenaged superheroes battling an intergalactic parasite. This series does wonders at capturing the feeling of being a teenager without being heavy handed.
Fables, Artist, Mark Buckingham; Author, Bill Willingham
The Fables comic book written by Bill Willingham and illustrated by Mark Buckingham is an essential read for those who want to know what happens to fairy tale characters after their individual stories have ended. The series has won 14 Eisner Awards and has published over 130 issues in the last decade. Mark Buckingham, the lead artist on the series, has a rather traditional style; however, his use of side bars framing the story gives the reader a sense of perspective. These boarder images represent whose perspective is being explored; red roses for Rose Red, a bugle for Boy Blue, and toys for the six children of Bigby Wolf and Snow White.
Peter Panzerfaust, Artist, Tyler Jenkins; Author, Kurtis J. Wiebe
Canadian team Kurtis J. Wiebe and Tyler Jenkins breathes fresh air into J.M. Barrie's classic Peter Pan in their comic book Peter Panzerfaust. Self-proclaimed history buffs, Wiebe and Jenkins transport the Peter Pan story to Nazi occupied France where, along with a band of French orphans and the Darling children, teenaged Peter and the gang must work together to survive the darkest days of World War II. Jenkins' art is subtle yet unique, the dark tones embrace the reader and remind them of how terrible the war was, yet never strays too far from the adventurous tone of the original story. The character's expressions range from the sorrow of losing friends and family to the joy of a peaceful picnic. The art from Panzerfaust has been transformed to a new media, the motion comic, where the original artwork is animated and the characters are voiced by Elijah Wood, Summer Glau, and Ron Pearlman. Panzerfaust is a must read for those who love history and the original Peter Pan story.
- Tracy Boehm,